'We feel honoured' – daughter of San leader

2016-03-22 08:07
The Northern Cape legislature honoured Khomani San leader Dawid Kruiper with a memorial lecture and the unveiling of a mosaic plague featuring his likeness. (News24 Correspondent)

The Northern Cape legislature honoured Khomani San leader Dawid Kruiper with a memorial lecture and the unveiling of a mosaic plague featuring his likeness. (News24 Correspondent)

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Kimberley – The posthumous honour bestowed on former Khomani San leader, Dawid Kruiper, last week was a step in the right direction, but not the ultimate honour his tribe wants for him.

“We ultimately want a municipality to be named after him. The Mier municipality (in the Kalahari) and (Upington-based) Khara Hais will merge. We have already put in a proposal that the new municipality be named after him.

"We want it to be called the Dawid Kruiper Municipality,” said David Van Wyk, a Khomani San member and spokesperson for Katriena Esua, the leader of the Western families of the Khomani San.

Last Friday, the Northern Cape legislature honoured Kruiper with a memorial lecture and the unveiling of a mosaic plague featuring his likeness.

Family honour

He now hangs among struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela and Kgosi (chief) Galeshewe and politicians like Manne Dipico (the Northern Cape’s first premier), on the walls of the Hall of Remembrance at the Northern Cape legislature. It’s the first honour in the Northern Cape for the leader, who died four years ago.

Since then there have been calls for an honour – any honour - to be bestowed on the man widely regarded to have brought some form of development to his people. The City of Cape Town last year named a footbridge after Kruiper. 

"We feel honoured as the family of Dawid Kruiper, my father, to be acknowledged and to have him acknowledged,” Lys Peterson, Kuiper’s daughter, said.  

Dawid Kruiper – who died in 2012 at the age of 71 – was at the forefront of claiming six farms in the Northern Cape’s Kalahari on behalf of his people in the first post democratic land claim in South Africa. He was also part of the group of leaders that saw the San being compensated for their indigenous knowledge, with royalties from products such as diet pills, which are made from plants, being paid to the San people.

Unbroken chain

“When he was alive, he represented the longest unbroken chain of heritage in all of human history. There are no people alive anywhere on the planet that are older than the San.

“And I think he knew that, which made him so determined to protect and preserve every aspect of his people’s culture,” said researcher Terry Ball, who delivered the Dawid Kruiper Memorial lecture.

Kruiper addressed the United Nations twice in his lifetime on the challenges facing his people. He also walked and hitchhiked more than 1 000 km from Andriesvale in the Kalahari to Cape Town to speak to then president Thabo Mbeki over development concerns of his people.

The Indigenous Liberation Walk is still done annually, partly in his honour. The reason for Kruiper’s trek to Cape Town – the development of his ancient 25 000 year old mother tongue, N!U, has still not been realised. Many Khomani San present at the event told News24 that this would be the greatest honour to be bestowed on Kruiper.

Read more on:    kimberley  |  culture

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